Little League World Series 2012: Teams Flashing Championship Form

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 22, 2012

Photo Credit: Associated Press
Photo Credit: Associated Press

We are getting deeper into the 2012 Little League World Series, and already we've seen some dazzling plays, pitching and power.

Whether you are a fan of the long ball or dominant pitching, there has been a little bit of everything for everyone, from Japan's scoreless streak to Mexico's home run barrage.

Here's a look at the top championship contenders so far in the 2012 Little League World Series.

Japan (2-0)

The first thing you need to know about Japan is that its pitching is fantastic. Japan has yet to allow a run in 15 innings, going 2-0 in that span, and is holding opponents to a .118 average (best mark in the LLWS), via llws2012.bbstats.pointstreak.com.

The second thing you need to know is that Japan has won four LLWS championships since 1999 and reached the final last year.

Japan has scored only nine runs in two games in the tournament, but it's worth noting that the team scored seven runs against Caribbean and won a 2-0 thriller against Chinese Taipei in Round 2.

Mexico (3-1)

After defeating Curacao on Tuesday (6-2), Mexico has now scored the most runs (31) in the tournament and clubbed the most home runs by far (11). 

On top of that, Mexico is hitting .371 as a team and owns the second-best slugging percentage (.733).

Mexico's pitching isn't particularly special (4.64 ERA), but the Mexicans did hold Curacao to two runs on Tuesday—and the offense is so explosive that the pitching may not even matter.

Southeast (2-0)

Southeast has scored 21 runs in just two games in the LLWS, including five home runs. They are batting .393 as a team.

On top of that, the pitching has been decent (3.50 ERA, 1.08 WHIP), enough to win squeakers down the stretch and potentially win the title. 

Southeast has gone 2-0 so far and figures to be a dangerous American squad.

Southwest (2-0)

There is also Southwest, which has scored 18 runs in two games and has pitched better than Southeast (2.00 ERA, opponents hitting .205).

Southwest has just the right kind of balance to go deep into the tournament, and the team's first big challenge will be Wednesday against Southeast.

Southwest is also 2-0 and coming off a 13-3 drubbing of Great Lakes.

Latin America (2-0)

Latin America has scored 17 runs in two games so far, hitting three home runs in the process. That includes scoring nine runs against Middle East-Africa and eight runs against Canada.

Latin America is also hitting .421 as a team, best in the tournament, and the pitching is solid. Latin America has allowed just four earned runs in 12 innings so far (2.00 ERA), and has racked up 29 strikeouts in that time.

This team's hitting, combined with its pitching, makes it a prime championship contender.

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